With trade deadline passed and gone, we can say that Kent Hughes’ step one in his quest to revamp the Canadiens’ line-up is behind him. The next big step for the teams new General Manager will be in the summer, in the months leading up to the NHL Draft, event held in Montreal this summer.
Hughes traded three of his six pending UFAs as Ben Chiarot, Brett Kulak and Andrew Hammond have all found new homes to finish the season. Only Chris Wideman, Mathieu Perreault and Cedric Paquette are still with the organization with which they singed last summer.
The Canadiens’ GM also traded two key components of his team who weren’t unrestricted free agents. Tyler Toffoli is tearing it up in Calgary, where he was traded a few weeks ago. On trade deadline day, dressing room favourite Artturi Lehkonen said his goodbyes to his teammates and will try to win the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche.
Ensemble of his work
So far since being hired, Hughes has traded seven players. He got seven players back in return, as well as seven draft picks and some future considerations. Amongst the draft picks, two are in the first round and two are in the second round.
|Brandon Baddock||Andrew Hammond|
|Tyler Toffoli||Tyler Pitlick||UFA|
|Michael McNiven||Emil Heineman||#43 in 2020|
|Ben Chiarot||Ty Smilanic||#74 in 2020|
|Andrew Hammond||Nate Schnarr||#75 in 2017|
|Brett Kulak||William Lagesson||#91 in 2014|
|Artturi Lehkonen||Justin Barron||#25 in 2020|
|1st rd pick 2022 CGY (cond)||Could be 2023|
|1st rd pick 2023 FLA|
|2nd rd pick 2022 EDM|
|2nd rd pick 2024 COL|
|4th rd pick 2022 FLA|
|5th rd pick 2025 CGY|
|7th rd pick 2024 EDM|
|Future considerations CGY|
Amongst the players he received, only Andrew Hammond (who was trade away as well), Tyler Pitlick (cousin of Rem and Rhett), a pending UFA thrown in for cap reason, and William Lagesson (26) are over the age of 25. Only one of the younger players is a well known prospect in right-handed defenseman Justin Barron. But Hughes and his VP of Hockey Ops Geoff Gorton know Emil Heineman and Ty Smilanic quite well and they like what they bring to the table. Fans will have a better idea when they get to see them at rookie camp and compare them to the other team’s prospects.
All in all, the consensus is that Hughes has done quite well so far. Gorton and him can now continue focussing on their team on the ice, evaluating what they have, and draw up a plan for the summer months. They have some big decisions and moves to make, none perhaps bigger than trading disgruntled Jeff Petry and determining the status of Carey Price. They also must continue making changes in scouting and player development.